Turn the Busiest Expense Day of the Year into One of the Quietest

For accounting departments around the world, December can be a Grinch. Employees who have waited months to submit their expense reports are suddenly in a hurry to be reimbursed before the holidays, and accountants are eager to reconcile their ledgers for the same reason.

The result can be a yule logjam of reports, receipts and invoices. In the United States, the flurry of activity is scheduled to reach blizzard proportions on Tuesday, December 20, traditionally known as the busiest day of the year for expense reporting.

So how does Concur deal with the merry mess?


On a normal Monday morning, payroll specialist Nicole Werdal will spend an hour approving 150 expense requests from Concur employees. For the rest of the week, she might process 60-70 a day.

“I will probably have 300 reports to process on that day,” Werdal says. “The thing is, our expense reporting system makes my job so easy that really, it might take me two hours. I know it’s the holiday crunch, but at Concur it’s not that big of a deal.”

Concur’s payroll department processes hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses each year. Their secret to faster reimbursement is disciplined tracking and good communication.

Nicole’s best advice to make the process run smoothly, not just on the busiest day, but everyday? “Attach your receipts.”

What can slow things down is when an expense report has to go back to the employee for those very necessary receipts. That bounce around can delay the reimbursement time. “Pay attention to the alerts and warnings in the reporting process,” says Denise Young, Concur’s global payroll lead. “Those icons will let you know what’s needed.”

And if you have anything unusual or unexpected in your expense report, let your finance team know in advance. “An email beforehand can also help to speed things up and prevent that bounce around,” Young says.

Her best advice to employees and finance teams on the busiest day of the year? “Stay calm. Relax. It’ll all get done.”

Neither Nicole nor Denise expect to be buried under a stack of expense reports. But you never know what the season might bring. As the day progresses, we’ll check in with them to see if anything changes.

Good luck to all of you out there. Here’s to snuffing out the candle at both ends early in the day.

A gift for accounting and finance teams: we’ve created a little poster that you can print out and hang anywhere in your office. Let your office know gifts and/or appreciation would be most welcome.

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